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Celebrate the Holidays Safely!

Published on December 7, 2017

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When the holiday season is upon us, many are brightening their home with lights and decorations to recreate the magic of Christmas. In case you don’t already know it, your holiday decorations can increase your risk of fire. Here are a few tips from L'Unique General Insurance on how to enjoy the holidays safely and avoid home insurance claims.

How to choose and maintain your Christmas tree

A fire resistant artificial tree is recommended, first of all. Not only are artificial trees much safer than real ones, but they require no maintenance. However, if you must have a real tree, take these precautions:

  • Choose a freshly cut tree. To reduce the risk of fire, make sure it is not dry and buy it less than 14 days before the date you plan to discard it.
  • Fit your tree securely in a stand that can hold 2 to 3 litres of water.
  • Place the tree away from traffic areas, emergency exits and heat sources (heating ventilation duct, radiator, stove, fireplace, lighted candles, etc.).
  • Water it every day.
  • Keep your tree indoors no longer than 10 to 14 days after its purchase, since that’s how much time it takes for a fresh tree to dry out and to constitute a significant risk of fire. After that, promptly remove your tree decorations and place your tree outside, far away from your house, while awaiting collection.
  • Don’t burn the tree in your fireplace or wood stove: Deposits of creosote can accumulate in the chimney pipe, increasing the risk of fire.

Installation and use of lighted decorations

A few recommendations on how to prevent your beautiful Christmas lights from causing a fire:

  • Use lights approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) that are designed for the place where you intend to use them (indoors or outdoors).
  • Inspect the sets of lights, electric wires and extension cords prior to each installation.
  • Discard any damaged wire or set with exposed cables or loose connections.
  • Avoid placing electric wires in doorways or under carpets.
  • Don’t overload electric outlets and extension cords. Use a power strip or several outlets when you have more than one set of lights.
  • Turn off all lighted decorations before going to bed or going out.

Your insurance broker is there to help you prevent losses. Feel free to contact him or her!

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